The earliest record of scarve s dates back to ancient Egypt, around 1350 B.C., in which Queen Nefertiti wore a scarf attached to her headdress. They quickly became a fashion statement as well as a way to show social standing.
The Working Man’s Practicality is a Rich Man’s Fashion
In ancient Rome, scarves were initially used for more practical purposes, i.e., wiping away sweat. Men would wear these pieces of clothing while they worked as a way to keep clean. Eventually, the garment was picked up as a fashion statement by those whose work did not consist of manual labor, and within a few decades, top-ranking citizens like emperors were wearing the trend.
Even the Military Found Them Useful
Throughout history, scarve s have also had military uses. In both China and Croatia, where different ranks and branches wore various types of scarves to declare their status. Both the Chinese soldiers in 230 BC and later the Croatian soldiers differentiated status by the material from which the scarves were made from – silk for the top and cotton for the lower ranks.
My Scarf is Better Than Yours
Using scarves as rank distinction in the military eventually led to the garment being used to showcase class rank in Victorian England. Like in Egypt, such a trend occurred after royalty made them a popular fashion statement in the 19th century, and in this case, it was Queen Victoria. But because scarves were still typically made from an expensive material like silk, only the wealthy could afford them. When less expensive fabrics became readily available during the end of the 19th century, like rayon, scarves became readily available across the social classes.
Colors as a Reflection of the Culture
The 20th century brought with it an acceptance of scarves for both men and women in everyday attire. Changes in the political environments can be traced through the look of scarves during this century, particularly in the colors used. Scarves during wartime become completely about warmth, the material going back to whatever was readily available. The colors take on more muted tones, partly because of the restriction of resources and partly as a way to express the seriousness of the situation.
This reflection of the culture can also be seen in the 70s and 80s. The scarves became bright with bold prints, a reflection of the rebellious attitude of the youth.
There’s nothing quite as comforting as a warm neck during the chilliest months of the year, so don’t forget to send all appreciation to the late Queen Nefertiti.